My friend and fellow future tranny (only joking, folks), Jeff Wright, released an excellent article and follow up challenge to the recent CrossPolitic “Baptists caused transgenderism” viral controversy.
Just as everyone was starting to move on like the good boys and girls they were being told to be, he went and re-stoked the embers of the dying debacle, and I believe he did a right and good job of it for right and good reasons.
In fact, a brief humorous story on how much I believe his article to be good and necessary:
About an hour before writing what I am now writing, I paused my day’s work to open Twitter and go directly to the DMs to message Jeff. I proceeded to tell Jeff that something was bugging me which I hadn’t seen anyone fully put their finger on yet. I said I wanted to stencil this out and have him tell me if I’m off base. I then proceeded to outline my take. After I finished, I exited the DMs back to my timeline where I immediately saw someone had shared Jeff’s article I’m mentioning here. I clicked it and proceeded to find that Jeff took my outline, hopped in a time machine, and went back 3 hours earlier and fleshed it all out superbly.
And while you may think I’m just trying to steal Jeff’s glory by telling you this story (“I would have said that”), I am not. I mean it when I say Jeff did a superb job. What he wrote up is far, far better than I would have ever possibly produced to say what needed said here.
The reason I tell you that story is to stand in agreement with him and give it even more credibility, for whatever I’m worth in those regards. In fact, one of the points I made to Jeff in my DM was that I had seen bits and pieces of this said by a great many anon and small accounts, but nobody had yet synthesized it and brought it all together. The lack of that, from what I was seeing, had a lot of people still feeling quite angry but without the words to express it, and it was/is a real problem.
To be clear, as a covenantal credo baptist, myself, this was less about me — as I’ve now been informed I am, in fact, not responsible for transgenderism after all…except for how I am — but this was more about how I could tell others were clearly feeling about the responses and how it’s all been handled.
As Jeff and I were clearly both assessing it, that’s much of THE problem here at large — until Jeff’s article, the controversy had been framed in such a way that anyone still talking about it, while being told they were welcome to do so, was set up to be at least a bit of a wacko who needs to lighten up, comprehend things better, and stop being such a penny-wasted whiney and divisive ninnywit. See also, “grow a pair” (though not from official sources).
So, who wants to be that guy?
Well, while I was saying to Jeff that somebody needed to be that guy, and I guess I’d have to do it, Jeff had already stepped up to be that lightning rod, and did so with excellence.
So , again, if you’ve followed this controversy online at all, I cannot encourage you enough to go read Jeff’s post, here.
*Update since publishing: Tom Ascol has now come out with another excellent and thorough response which bolsters what I am saying here as well by both making the same claims while being Tom Ascol, as well as citing and responding to numerous exact quotes from the CP bros. Definitely read it.
Yet, with all that said, this tranny horse isn’t dead yet. I would request to attach an addendum to Jeff’s fine words even still. It’s not altogether different from what he has said, but I think it presses in on an important point for the reformed Christian fighters among us, of whom I’m happy to be counted a fellow, myself.
To be fair to CrossPolitic, they aren’t the first to warrant what I’m saying here, but they’re a strong and high-profile case. As such, part of me really does not want to write this. There is rarely anything to be gained by critiquing the folks with the larger platform, but, again, that’s a big part of my point I want to make here… So, here we are.
I’ve said before, one of the problems with pastors these days is you can tell they’ve never had to worry that someone might punch them in the face for their words. This goes for most Christian podcasters and bloggers too.
Now, let me be clear from the start on two things:
(1.) I don’t think that punching someone in the face is the right approach to solving most controversies, though there are exceptions.
(2.) I don’t even remotely think any of the guys with CrossPolitic’s show — Longshore, Rench, Knox, or even Farley — need punched in the face over any of this… other than by some good memes… which I’m glad to say has occurred… repeatedly.
They took a beating in those regards.
What I am saying, is that in the days following the inflammatory, absurd, and clearly divisive statement, I saw a quite sturdily built and normally even keel Christian man tweet out a few lines about why he sincerely believed the Biblical teaching to be an obvious one of faith, confession, and then baptism, and then he said something along the lines of, “and if anyone ever said to my face they think that belief is the cause of transgenderism, they’d probably find themselves popped in the jaw.”
Upon reading that, I nodded to myself and thought, “Yeah, I believe it. I’ve known many such men who would probably handle something that stupid that way… And there’s not a chance I’d condemn them more highly than I’d condemn the sayer of said stupidity.”
I’ve been punched in the face enough times to know a few things about being punched in the face. Some for good reasons. Some for bad reasons. One of the good things about running with fellows who will throw down and fight, and having participated in such activities, is it keeps you humble and introspective about how you say things and the reasons you say such things.
Just like if more haters were persecuting us, we’d get more straight-gospel preaching, if more straight-gospel men St. Nicked each other from time to time for being smart-alecks, we’d get more humble ecumenicalism.
See, it’s easy to get carried away and say you’re “rowdy” and “jocular” when you only ever have to say things from behind screens, and keyboards, and mics, and you know no redneck is going to look at you say, “Say what now? Wanna run that by me again der, boy?” as he stands up and steps toward you.
And, as Jeff rightly points out, this really is a Big-Eva testing moment for our beloved brothers at CrossPolitic, in which I and many others, agree they have failed within so far. For there are many, many, many soft, pampered, and pompous man-boys in Big-Eva who need some actual men to stand in front of them and say with a bit of a growl, “Wanna run that by my again der, boy?”
It would do all of evangelicalism a lot of good. But, most of those sorts of hard men don’t go to the sorts of churches with the soft man-boy pastors or even pay attention to Big-Eva anymore.
Many hard men listen to the stuff in our circles, which include CrossPolitic, and it’s because, in part, we all enjoy a bit more masculinity and roughness. For sure. I think it’s also because we enjoy more sincerity. Again, the roughness tends to allow for and create more of said sincerity.
So what am I getting at? And, why am I framing it in this way? It’s not because I want violence, and again, it’s not because I think anyone should have punched Farley or anyone else for saying something stupid. That would most definitely, unequivocally, be out of line for this.
Yet I would venture the guess that if the initial conversation, as well as the follow up, were done face to face with those who rightly took offense, there would have been a lot less “rowdy” and “jocular” abrasive talk being slung about, and I suspect it would have been significantly more humble and honest.
And, yes, of course I know this sort of stuff, the blogging, podcasting, tweeting, etc., is performance art. I’ve been at this longer than most. I get it.
But, as the data from this debacle has shown, the respect we give each other as men leading out in reformed catholicity and cultural warfare—the respect in our words and our dealings, even online—matters. It matters a lot.
Our charge in loving the brotherhood is “to outdo one another in showing honor,” not in getting the finest disses, jocular jabs, and largest viral vanity metrics.
When I first heard the clip being shared, I honestly chuckled to myself, rolled my eyes, and moved on with my day. “Nothing that stupid needs a reply. Only a fool would think it not foolish.”
However, I later saw that there’s enough plausible sounding thoughts in the accusations that many folks do now need to sit in on someone explaining some sense to Farley and company…. But anyway…
Later that evening, I enjoyed the memes from one Rett and appreciated the thread and point by another Rhett, stating, “the danger here is that it risks turning the serrated edge into a serrated schtick, where no one really takes it seriously anymore and it ceases to be an effective rhetorical weapon. ‘Oh they’re just doing that thing again where they say outrageous stuff. Pay no mind.'” That’s a salient point, to be sure.
However, things changed for me when what seemed like it should have been an easy, “Sorry folks, we got carried away,” progressed into obfuscation, redirection, blame-shifting, condescension, brothers being told to ‘grow a pair,’ straight up gas-lighting, and loads of “oh good grief, lighten-up, nobody has the right to be mad over this” manipulative framing.
This is the only point at which I bristled, and became just plain ol’ disappointed.
It was obvious people were truly offended, and those folks were being only further insulted, dishonored, and disregarded.
See, you’re right, we’re all friends, and that’s exactly why folks have the right to be mad over this. Friends trust each other to make fair and wise critiques. Proverbs 27:6 “The wounds of a friend can be trusted.” They also trust they can say to a friend when they think something is out of line without being gaslit and told they can’t believe their own eyes and ears and basic comprehension abilities.
You may truly think it’s ridiculous a brother is mad over something you said, but a humble man should close his mouth and listen when true brothers in Christ are mad at him. Not say, “Wow, you have no right to be mad! I expect us to extend an olive branch of peace in communication over this” when you, in fact, are who ripped the olive branch away and smacked him with it in the first place.
Getting smacked with the olive branch was kinda weird and annoying for folks, but being told they can’t say, “Bro, not cool, you’re gonna lose people’s trust with stuff this stupid,” only to then be told, “I didn’t smack you! I smacked those guys over there! Lighten up!” is asking a bit too much.
You’re not fighting fair and with integrity now, but you’re demanding I do?
And, I can tell you with certainty from the conversations I’ve been part of, this is where many men did get angry for the first time.
After quite a few DMs and other tweet threads, this is why The Majesty’s Men official Twitter account finally weighed in with this question and statement:
“So @CrossPolitic and their @FightLaughFeast network would believe they have a moral responsibility before God to see to it that Baptists and their beliefs, practices, and churches are removed from society? Right? If they support Baptists, are they not then supporting grave sin?
Of course it’s easy to say “it wasn’t serious, we’re all friends” but the seriousness is in IF they lived by their word, as every man should, this would be the logical outworking. That’s exactly why many feel insulted when told to brush it off as if people were mad over nothing.”
We decided it was worth attempting to make the point that this was more serious than it was being treated by telling folks to “lighten up” — which TMM was promptly told we should be doing, ironically — and by framing the conversation going forward in such a way as to make anyone who wanted to keep talking about it seem like the wackos being “over the top.”
As we were attempting to point out with our tweet, and as James White aptly explained in his Dividing Line talk on this issue, and now Tom Ascol in his article, it was the baptist/tranny statement which was over the top and absurd—not even remotely close to a Biblical, historical, or logical argument, but one that would certainly carry massive implications for anyone who believed it.
Further, as Jeff accurately pointed out, there wasn’t a single response that matched from Sumpter, Longshore, Knox, or Rench, in their attempt to explain it away as though they were talking about other issues, and that they were aiming at someone else, and that they still agree with the original statements yet call for peace, and that you didn’t understand plain english, and that you’re too worked up, and so on.
The thing is, being a rowdy man is fine and good. We need loads more of them. They’re my favorites to run with. Yet, one of the accusations most lobbed against the rowdy reformed Christian men, and especially the Moscow circles, is that we possess no ability to recognize when we’re wrong and apologize. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that, I could fund a few new church plants to fight transgenderism.
Unfortunately, in this situation, those who claim that about us, have found a great deal more fodder for that fire. Worst of all, what has been modeled so far for other young men watching has been a demonstration in how to gaslight and manipulate to avoid saying, “Okay, yeah, that got carried away. Sorry.”
As Jeff rightly said, you should have either owned it entirely and said, “Yes we meant what we said, when we literally said it was about credobaptism, and we’ll defend it” or else disowned it and said, “Sorry. We shouldn’t have said something so dumb and divisive just for hype. We really only meant individualism is the issue.”
As it is, you’ve done a little of both and neither. My wife said it well when she made the comparison, “It’s like a man who hits his wife and then says, ‘Oh come on, you know how much I love you! You can’t be mad at me. That’s not who I am. I was worked up actually over this, and I didn’t really hit you as much as you walked into it, and besides, you…'”
So at the risk of being further mocked for being a soft man, I actually don’t agree with Jeff in his final paragraph, in which he said he “doesn’t need an apology.” I expect friends to apologize to friends when they’ve done wrong, and even more so when they’ve doubled down and spoke condescendingly and offensively to those who have said, “No, you’ve done wrong and now you’re skirting the issue and its repercussions here, bro.”
As Christian men, it is good that we are rowdy and even dangerous. But it is wholly imperative for our imperative to be holy that we are also meek. Only the strong can be meek. I do believe you all haven’t modeled meekness. You have the mics and the large platforms. You have the power. You can sit safely behind them and manipulate the situation so that nobody feels comfortable questioning the situation further without being a shameful wacky, or you can be meek and, with all your power and influence, take the opportunity to say, “Yeah, we got carried away. Sorry about that.” In doing so, you would model a rather novel standard of biblical, masculine, christianity — something Big-Eva knows nothing of.
Yet, of course, you cannot apologize if you do, in fact, believe what was verbatim said,
Rench: “You said…my view of waiting till my child is ready to confess faith in our Lord, and then baptize him, is related to the identity crisis found in transgenderism.”
Farley: “Yeah I didn’t say ‘related to,’ I said, ‘is the cause of’.”
If that’s the case—and it’s up in the air still, I’d say—I’ll pray not so much for humility for you but for wisdom instead. And, I’ll trust James White can impart some of that to you on this matter soon.
The official stance of The Majesty’s Men has been and will continue to be the same as historical reformed Christianity for centuries: both sides of the credo and paedo baptism debate have reasonable, rational, and most importantly, Biblical arguments for what they believe and why. As such, neither are in sin for their stance. Neither are responsible for transgenderism, but together, in joyful warfare with Christ, we can most definitely put a stop to the demonic deception.
Keep fighting. But realize that being an “equal opportunity offender” doesn’t make all offenses equal.
Alas, as Jeff said, it is because of your great current influence and future potential for God’s Kingdom that I engage this at all. I hope it is received in the spirit of Psalm 141:5:
Let the righteous man strike me; let his rebuke be an act of loving devotion. It is oil for my head; let me not refuse it. For my prayer is ever against the deeds of the wicked.
I hope you continue your good work and pray our Lord continues to bless it. Love you, brothers.